I thought I would tell you a little about our own OtherWorld. In many ways it is a lot like Alorya, the place Casteylan and I lived in our elven lives. And yet it's not the same. While Alorya is the main model for our world, it's not our only source of inspiration, particularly now there are non-Aloryans working on the interior decoration.
I knew about this place long before I knew we were multiple. My partner has a similar inner landscape and he called it "a Zero", which is a sort of rough translation from some Japanese concept that I don't fully understand. The basic idea is that the place begins as nothing, a void, hence the "zero", and anything else you put in there is largely up to you.
The first thing that got put into our "Zero" was the Garden. I wandered into the garden during one of my earliest Journeyings, long before I even knew what Journeying was. I found it by chance whilst walking a forest path that led from Alorya to somewhere else. There was an ivy-coverd wall with an iron gate that was too rusty to open but easy enough to climb. Beyond the wall and the gate there was this garden.
Beautiful. Surrounded by shrubs and trees, full of flowers that make the air fragrant. Birds sing in the trees, insects hum in the flowers. The shrubs surround a large lawn on which there are three notable features. The first is a gazebo, like a miniature Greek temple, made of stone with clematis winding around the pillars. The second is a fountain which cascades into an ornamental pool. The pool is surrounded by a wall so the water-level is higher than ground-level. The water from this fountain has healing properties. Lastly there is a statue. When I look at this statue I see an archer. Maybe an elf, maybe Robin Hood. He is kneeling on one knee, his bow drawn and taut, ready to release the arrow into the sky. When other people visit the same garden, they see a different statue.
For a long while, my inner landscape was just this garden. Gradually it grew. Soon other places appeared, most of them places I remembered from Alorya. The waterfall. The beach, the moors. There was a house too. Not like the castle in Alorya, the house was and is more like an old English stately home. A mansion-house, with lots of rooms full of history. There are the familiar rooms that I visit often, but there are also many more rooms I have never seen; heavy-pannelled oak doors that I have never opened.
My favourite room is the library. Shelves full of books, a fireplace, a big table in the centre, and tall narrow windows with window-seats that look out over the garden.
Since the others came, the house has changed. Casteylan's rooms have electricity, for his stereo and electric keyboards and his other "toys". Ash has a tower which wasn't there before, because she likes to be as near to the sky as possible. Sally's room has an enormous rocking-horse, the size of a real pony. I'd swear it talks to her. She doesn't spend much time inside though; she's usually doing what I would have done at her age; climbing trees or riding real ponies.
It's occurred to me, whilst writing this description, that our house and the lands around it don't have a name. Not Alorya, because it's not the same. Maybe we should think of something else. Fearann na Doltaghey (Doltaghey's Land)?
--Arhuaine (of Doltaghey House)
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